Enjoy shooting right at the comfort of your home. Create and set up some target for you to shoot! Here is how to make an archery target block:
How to Make an Archery Target Block - Easy Steps to Know!
Considering that targets aren’t cheap, making one instead of having to constantly purchase one is the way to go. Think of it this way - you’ll get to have a target for you practice, you’d also get to spice up and make use of your creative juices when making a DIY target!
For this particular case, we'll be tackling two designs: a chicken wire archery target block and a carpet archery target block. If you are looking for ready-made target blocks, check this article. For target shooting bows, read this article for target compound bows, and this for recurve bows.
The Carpet Archery Target Block - Build This One!
This target block is simply made out of stripes of carpet which are layered on top of each other. To actually stop the arrows the target block needs to be dense and stable, so you’ll need wooden planks on the top and the bottom (as lowest and topmost layer). The planks are held together by four 36” all-thread screws. The planks both hold the carpet layers in place, and compress them with the screws so they become denser than if you just put them on each other.
The Carpet Archery Target Block Material Checklist
- Carpet (alternatively, cardboard backing would work)
- 2 x 4 wooden planks
- 3/8” x 36” all-thread (4 pieces)
- Washers (regular type and oversized, 8 pieces each, suggested size would be 3/8”)
- Nuts (8 pieces, suggested size would be 3/8”)
- Screws (either wood or decking types would be great, 3 pieces, suggested size would be 1/2”)
Additionally, have these construction tools ready:
- Measuring Tape
- A utility knife
- A sharpie (or a carpenter’s pencil)
- A Saw
- A Drill
- Saw horses
- ½” wood drill bit
- A Wrench
- An Arrow Puller
- A squaring jig
Steps in Constructing the Carpet Archery Target Block
- Using the sharpie, carefully layout the amount of carpet/cardboard needed for the archery target block. The stripes need to be about 4 inches shorter than the planks that will be the bottom and top boards.
- Slice the carpet along the lines you've made.
- Lay out the pieces – don't worry if the pieces of carpet aren't long or wide enough. You can combine these excess pieces to create a new layer.
- Using the 2 x 4 wooden planks, position these into a frame.
- Cut the main planks to size if needed.
- On each corner, drill a 1/2” hole in the planks. Make sure they will align - just drilling the planks together will make it work.
- Slide an all-thread screw into the hole.
- Adjust and fit an oversized washer, regular washer, and nut on each end of the frame. These will hold the target together.
- For attachments, use the decking screws.
- Carefully position the cut layer(s) of carpet on top of it.
- Tighten the carpet layers using the all-thread screws. It's important to make them really tight so they have the appropriate density.
- Prop the target against a wall.
- You are now ready to shoot!
The Chicken Wire Archery Target Block - Also To Consider!
The chicken wire target archery block basically uses a wood framing on the sides and chicken wire (wire fence) on the front and the back to keep the filling, the clothes inside. The chicken wire will not hurt your arrows.
The Chicken Wire Archery Target Block Material Checklist
- 2" × 12" kiln dried boards
- 1" × 4" framing
- Chicken wire
- Filling: discarded clothing with any hard objects removed (such as zippers, patches, buttons, etc.)
- The tools are mostly the same as for the carpet block, however you’ll need a stapling gun too to fix the chicken wire to the frame.
Steps in Constructing the Chicken Wire Archery Target Block
- Cut the 2" × 12" kiln dried boards into two sections – one 5 ft and the other 3 ft.
- Cut a top hole where you would insert the filling.
- Fit the cut kiln dried boards into a frame – the 5 ft sections will form the vertical side; the 3 ft sections as the horizontal sides.
- To position the sections securely, hold on to the sections with the squaring tool and clamps.
- Once the planks are in place, hold the boards together with the four wood screws.
- Secure the chicken wire onto the frame by stapling on the boards.
- Insert the filling into the top hole of the frame.
- Once the frame's filled with clothes, cover the chicken wire side with burlap. Staple the burlap as needed.
- You're now ready to shoot!
Quality and Maintenance Check
Implement these maintenance checks and tests to keep your archery target blocks in tip-top shape!
Checking Your Chicken Wire Archery Target Block
Depending on just how much clothes you've filled the target block, you may notice a bulge starting to form at the back of the target. This is because of arrow impacts. Reinforcing the back with an additional layer of wood may help.
Additionally, consider replacing the material you've used as filling. Replace the clothes once you've noticed that the target block does not absorb arrow impact that easily or if pulling an arrow is now a chore.
Additionally, the chicken wire may also be replaced once it has received high damage from the arrows.
Checking Your Carpet Archery Target Block
Check your carpet and burlap conditions! Depending on the wear and tear, you may just need to replace it already - replace as needed!
Additionally, and depending on the force of the arrows, you may add additional frame strength by attaching some plywood on each side.
All About Archery Target Blocks (And Other Targets as Well!)
Aside from learning how to create your own archery target block, let’s get to know other target types out there. Besides knowing which targets you can shoot at, getting to know these types will help you prepare beforehand on getting that right archery mindset.
What is an Archery Target Block?
As shown with the guide above, an archery target block is essentially blocks filled with foam or padding for you to shoot at. Foam is the most common material sold by manufacturers in the market, for it solidifies once you pull an arrow out. For DIY purposes, foam can be replaced by other materials - such as cardboard, clothes, etc.
What are the Other Archery Targets?
There are more targets to choose from! Here are some:
3D Archery Targets
Get the best qualities of archery target blocks and wrap it up in an animal shape - this is what a 3D target is! Essentially the same as a foam block, the shape it comes in offers an exciting thrill whenever you'll let some arrows fly. Additionally, some 3D target tournaments follow a point system - the more difficult the shot (like a headshot), the more points you'll get in return. Also, 3D archery targets aren't limited to animal shapes. In some cases, some ranges also do provide dinosaurs and pop culture targets - a fun take on archery!
Next up are bag targets. These are mainly sacks or bags filled with material that will absorb arrow impact. Similar to block targets, arrows can easily be pulled out of these targets.
The most common target out there. Basically, just a sheet of archery paper for you to shoot at! On ranges, these targets are usually attached to a frame. Since these are fragile, paper targets are often used in combination with other types of archery targets to stop the arrow.
Why Making Your Own Archery Target Block is Outstanding
Now that you know more about archery target blocks, let's find out some benefits you’d get from making one!
Best Value for Money
Regardless if it's store-bought or DIY, archery target blocks are considered to be the most cost-efficient type of target. This is because the design of these blocks are meant to withstand wear and tear that shooting numerous arrows can produce.
Considering that you both construct and maintain the target block properly, your target block can accept damage no matter the angle an arrow comes from.
Saving Your Arrows
The ease of simply pulling out arrows from a block will not only help you out on getting that stance right. You'll be saving your arrows as well! This is great target archery to practice shooting several rounds at.
Target Setup Reminders
We also like to take the opportunity to share some helpful reminders when setting up your own archery target block:
Check the Target Block’s Height
Make the most out of your archery target block by setting its height properly. The correct target placement will matter. You do not want to shoot too high, nor too low! As a standard, it is highly recommended for targets to at least have a span of 48 inches off the ground. In terms of inclination angle, 70 degrees is be recommended. This should give ample distance to aim a target in a proper manner. Please refer to the chart below for suggested target height settings:
Amount of Degrees the Target is Inclined
Target Height (from the ground towards the lowest portion of the target)
The distance between the highest and lowest points of the target
2 ft. & 3 1/4 inches
2 ft. & 2 1/4 inches
1 ft. & 8 1/4 inches
2 ft. & 2 1/4 inches
1 ft. and 4 1/2 inches
Safety First, Always!
As always, having a safety first mindset when pursuing DIY projects is essential. Here are some reminders to help you out:
Aside from having the materials and tools handy for your DIY archery target project, make sure that you are also equipped with the right safety gear. Safety goggles, masks, and gloves may just be the gear that will save you from freak accidents!
Clean It Up
Additionally, always make sure that your workplace is free from dirt or debris. Not only will you get to organize and see things clearly this way - you may also save yourself from pesky mishaps that you wouldn't readily notice.
Take It Easy
Never rush when doing a DIY project. Especially with archery target blocks, you would want to set enough time to construct and check to see if everything is working just the way you want it to be.
Just because you've finished constructing a target block, doesn't mean you're finished with the actual project. Always make sure to test your work. The last thing you'd want is to have a faulty target that doesn't absorb your arrows or breaks apart easily after just a few shots!
Aim it Well
Never dry fire! Also, practice shooting courtesy. Always make sure that there is no one in your line of shooting sight!
Bonus: More DIY Archery Projects You May Want to Try Out
Before we end this fun article (we sure had fun!), we’d also like to share some other DIY projects that you may want to check out:
Spice Up Your Target Block
Applicable for both archery target block guides mentioned above. Having something to aim at on the block itself goes a long way. You can go for a typical bullseye design to gauge accuracy. Better yet, and if you've got that artistic flair, why not paint an animal on it? More bonus points for anatomically accurate shots!
Cardboard Box Target
Want a really simple DIY target? Granted, a cardboard box target really wouldn't last long. But if you have the resources (tons of cardboard lying around), you may want to set something like this up.
Conventionally, all you'll need for this DIY archery project are:
- Cardboard Boxes
- Some adhesive tape
Similar to the archery target block guides we talked about earlier, you'd want to have the cardboard box as the frame. For filling, you'd stuff the box with excess cardboard pieces. Tape and glue the sides to hold the entire thing together. If you do have additional cardboard, prop it up against the frame for it to serve as the back stop.
Considering that cardboard material is relatively cheap (oftentimes even free at some groceries), this option would be good for beginners. Of course, bow, arrow type or impact needs to be considered. A heavy bow may just tear this target apart real fast!
Hay Fixture Targets
Consider yourself lucky if you have access to bales of hay. Essentially a mixture of plants packed together, hay is the perfect material to absorb arrows!
If you're going for this route, here are the suggested materials:
- Plastic Cover
Wrap up a bale of hay in plastic. This should keep the hay solid whenever you'll shoot arrows at it. Keep the plastic cover wrapped tightly, securing the entire fixture with strings. Once done, simply set up your target and start shooting!
Of course, don't expect this target to last long. It's all fun, after all - this DIY archery project is the good fix when you'd just want to shoot at something out in the wild!
Your Archery Target Block is Now Ready!
Setting up your very own archery target block is easy if you have a plan ready. We hope this guide will help you in transforming you to the archer you want to be!
Here are more nice resources if you want to know more about archery target blocks!
- Gunflint Designs presents an interesting concept of using scrap wood and garbage in creating an archery target block.
- The Medieval Archer Hub discusses the importance of quality in target blocks.
- An interesting archery thread on Reddit details how to set up a target in your yard.
- If you are into DIY you could also build your own 3d archery targets.
- Targets like this are really handy for sighting in your bow or as backstops for paper tuning.